The COVID pandemic, which resulted in a lot of forced stay-at home orders, greatly affected the video gaming industry. This growth was possible due to the cancellation of trade shows, events and sports in person. Consumers were forced to turn to gaming and other activities for filling the void.
The pandemic also had an impact on television. Linear TV viewership fell in 2022. Video games were one of the few industries that prospered. They saw a 20% increase in YoY revenue from 2019, and reached over $179 Billion in global revenue for 2020 in both software and hardware.
So it’s no shock that mobile ad game popularity increased during this time. This article is part of a new series that explains why video games offer huge opportunities for advertisers in 2023.
Who plays videogames?
According to the IAB, the video game industry holds an estimated audience of over 3 billion gamers worldwide, and with in-game ad revenues topping $6.26 billion by the end of the year, it’s a great opportunity for brands to get in on some of that revenue.
- Video games are enjoyed by 227 million Americans
- 46% of video game players are women
- 70% of female viewers are mothers
- Gen Z is the generation that plays video games 80% of all people.
Zoe Soon, VP, IAB Experience Center, says gamers no longer identify as “gamers” in the traditional sense of the word, as much as people who watch tv aren’t labeled as “tv viewers.” You don’t say “TV watchers.” It’s just people… We have TV-watching behavior. We have gaming behavior, but people say “gamers,” as if they’re a separate, isolated cohort of people. This concept is changing as gaming becomes more fluid via social and metaverse.
Gaming is now considered a social activity. About 70% of Gen-Z age people who play games do so with the intention of just virtually “hanging out,” and not actually playing. According to a Deloitte survey, Gen Z and Millenials average 11 hours per week of video gaming. Across all five countries surveyed – the UK, US, Germany, Brazil, and Japan, gaming was cited as their favorite pastime activity.
- 79% are over 18 years old.
- The average video game player’s age is around 35
- 61% of US adults play games on their phones
- Shooter games are preferred to shooter by 80% male gamers aged 18-24
- 95% of Asia’s female gamers play mobile games
- Only 27% are Caucasian among American players
- 73% African American teens play videogames
According to their statistics, over 40 year olds also enjoy video games. 14% of respondents are between 35 and 44, 12% between 45 and 54, and 7% over 65. What these statistics show is that video games are no longer played by teen boys in their parent’s basements. Games are enjoyed by people of all ages and races.
In the next several years we’re going to see gaming become an interaction language. If brands think of it as this isolated channel, they’re already behind the curve. To enjoy games, you don’t need a big gaming console that can be attached to your TV. By 2022, almost everyone will own a complete gaming console.
Marketers have one of the most exciting and lucrative opportunities in gaming. There are many interests and players that gamers have, which is why they are more varied than ever before. However, it’s hard to beat as a medium for marketing.
But how can brands advertise in videogames? Mobile is the answer. Popular games like Candy Crush and Apex Legends have a wide range of players, including those who are younger than you. Mobile games are a great way to reach your ideal audience. There are however some things to consider.
Mobile games – the lowest-hanging fruit
Mobile is the best way for brands or advertisers to advertise in video games. Advertisements are a great way to compromise, as not all users want to pay for inapp purchases. Publishers can monetize games while users play for free. Advertisers can show ads to targeted demographics.
In-game ads were disruptive, intrusive and a bad experience for players. In-game ad placements were avoided by most brands because they are often spammy or bot clicks, and waste of money. Game developers on mobile, consoles, PC and online found a way to integrate ads into the game and make them feel natural. Ads are now more natural and fit in the ecosystem.
Award ads can also be used in-app advertising. These are unskippable ads that give users previews of in-app items or add extra lives or benefits to those who wouldn’t otherwise want to pay for an add-free version.
There are many in-game ad platforms available for advertisers. Meta and Google AdMob allow advertisers to place ads in these formats:
- Native Banners
Interstitial ads, which are full-screen ads that overlay the app’s interface, are full-screen ads. They appear during transitions or natural breaks in the game but do not interrupt play or distract the user.
Full-screen overlays are interstitial ads. Like banner ads, they are easy to implement and don’t affect gameplay because they’re full-screen. These are ideal for games with natural pauses or transition loops because the ad can be shown to users while they’re taking a break. Interstitial ads have a lower impression rate than banners, but generate more revenue.
Native banners are a popular format and the least intrusive. They’re similar to normal banner ads but the look and feel is similar to that of the game environment. They don’t interfere in the game but they are displayed over part of the screen.
Banner ads are rectangular ads which can be displayed as text, images or video. They can appear on the home screen, or embedded in the title screens or at the end-of the level screens. Banner ads are easiest to implement. They can increase a user’s exposure while they play the game, without interfering with their experience. Banner ads in mobile games work the same way as banner ads on websites. AdMob has a smart banners” feature which automatically adjusts the banner size to different devices.
Native ads can be tailored to match the context, color, layout, or visual design of the game in which they are placed. They can include images or videos. Native ads can reduce user churn and increase long-term value because they tend to match the app’s look and feel.
Contextual ads target users using a standard mobile format based on their content preferences, interests, or affinities. They seamlessly integrate products or services into the game.
Many free-toplay games offer rewarded ads. These ads allow players to gain rewards or level up for watching an entire video. This format has the highest view rate and is the most widely accepted by players since they’re receiving an award for interacting.
Rewarded ads occur when users opt-in to engage with an ad in exchange for a “reward” within the app. You can get extra time playing the game or power-ups. These are all options that you will only find through in-app purchases. Rewarded ads may include interactive and video ads. The ad format allows users to control the experience by choosing whether or not they engage with the ad. In return for a valuable reward, they can choose to accept an offer. Rewarded ads are a popular choice in gaming, as they encourage user engagement and increase revenue for developers.
Expandable ads can interrupt user experience as they expand when clicked on. They can be very useful and immersive if done well. Many times, however, the ads are clicked accidentally and provide little benefit to the player.
In-game video ads can be between 15-30 seconds in length and are natively embedded within the game at a natural point. They can disrupt the game experience so be careful when placing them.
Players are often rewarded with extra lives and awards for watching full-length video ads in-game. These ads have higher success rates than other types. They’re also more expensive.
Brands should carefully think about which type or format of in-game ads is best for them, their goals, and their budget. Split testing of different offers, platforms, and placements is a good idea, since there may be variation in performance and cost.
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